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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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(2) to place the blame on the Soviet Union; (3) to swell their statistics of
enemy casualties.
cc Medical and scientific experts have established (the report went on)
that the bodies and articles of clothing were well preserved, especially the
uniforms, belts and buttons, proving that they had been buried in the
spring of 1942 at the latest.
ef Before the Germans captured Smolensk, in the western districts of
the Smolensk region. Polish prisoners-of-war, officers and men, worked on
the construction and repair of highways. These Polish prisoners-of-war
were quartered in three camps, fifteen to twenty-seven miles west of
Smolensk, It was established from the evidence of witnesses and by
documentary material that, after the beginning of military operations, and
in the circumstances that had arisen, the camps could not be evacuated in
time and all Polish prisoners-of-war, as well as part of the guard and staff
of the camps, fell into German hands.
ccAn examination of the uniforms has revealed that the prisoners were
searched. In some cases the pockets had not been examined. Scraps of
newspapers, pamphlets, prayer-books, postage stamps, letters, receipts,
notes, and other documents and valuable objects were found in pockets, in
the lining of uniforms, trouser belts, and socks."
It was reported that the following "general conclusions" had been reached
by the Commission :
"(1). The Polish prisoners-of-war held by the Russians in three camps
near Smolensk were abandoned in the retreat of the Red Army.
cc(2). Mass executions of Polish prisoners-of-war from these camps were
carried out in the Katyn Forest in the autumn of 1941 by the German
occupation authorities.
"(3). The mass execution of Polish prisoners of-war in the Katyn Forest
was carried out by a German organisation which concealed its identity under
the alias ofc headquarters of the 537th Construction Battalion.* "
A Reuter correspondent, who, with other foreign correspondents,
had attended the investigation in the Katyn Forest, telegraphed the following
account from Moscow :
ec We climbed a mound and looked down into a huge rectangular pit.
The stench of death filled the air. Below us, packed in the pit like sardines
in a tin, we saw several layers of bodies, just as though a section of a football
crowd had been lifted up bodily and pressed in the earth. The bodies
appeared in a fair state of preservation but were compressed and mummified.
The shrunken figures looked more like rag dolls than the bodies of what
had once been normal, healthy men.
cc One of the biggest graves contained eight layers of bodies, the total
number being variously estimated at between 8,000 and 10,000. Until all
the graves are fully opened up it will be impossible to tell with any certainty
the exact number. Professor Victor Prozorovsky, Director of the Moscow
Central Institute of Pathological Research, who is in charge of the investi-
gation, thinks the total number is between 12,000 and 15,000.
" Eleven teams of surgeons and assistants are carrying out the post-
mortem examinations. Working from dawn to dusk, they deal with a total
of about 160 bodies daily. All the bodies so far examined have been shot
through the back of the head with a revolver bullet, which traversed the
brain and came out the other side, indicating that execution took place at